Mansfield News

The LOT opens Saturday with Sawyer Brown

Artist's rendering of The LOT
Artist's rendering of The LOT Courtesy of The LOT

Years of fund-raising, planning and hard work will culminate in the sweet sound of guitars and country music Saturday at The LOT Downtown.

Sawyer Brown will headline the inaugural concert at the new venue that organizers say will be the catalyst for other big changes in downtown Mansfield.

Tickets for the concert are $45, plus fees. Proceeds from this first show with Sawyer Brown will allow The LOT (Live Outdoor Theater) to have free, live entertainment nearly every weekend whether it’s a concert or, during the summer, movie nights.

That includes a free showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Aug. 5.

“It’s a place for the community to gather,” said Kim McCaslin, who is on the board of directors for The LOT. “The whole idea is really born from trying to bring something special to the community. This is what’s going to bring people downtown. This will be the game changer.”

They’ve already got a dozen acts lined up with Sawyer Brown and Yacht Rock Revival being the only ticketed shows so far. The rest are free.

The $650,000 project was funded by donations, prompting the slogan “Built by you for you.” Factoring in the donated labor and materials, the project could have cost as much as $1.5 million.

“It’s not city funded. It’s being built by donations,” McCaslin said. “This has been a massive community effort to put this together.”

Architect Justin Gilmore, also on The LOT board of directors, started sketching designs for The LOT four years ago. The amphitheater is built on 2 acres owned by the city and leased to the nonprofit group. The LOT has a maximum capacity of 2,000 people. There are more than 1,000 public parking spaces within walking distance of The LOT, including the parking lot at Walnut Street and West Broad Street. They’ve also got room for three food trucks, though they won’t be at every show.

People are encouraged to bring coolers with food and drinks and even beer and alcohol. Glass is prohibited.

The LOT has its own in-house production specialist who books the bands with the help of an outside consultant. In many cases, the band is passing through North Texas so they hire them to perform.

“We’re trying to reach the masses with a variety of types of shows,” McCaslin said. “We don’t want to be a one-trick pony. We want to have different types of music to capture as many tastes in music as we can.”

For her day job, McCaslin is the vice president of MR Development and the driving force behind the Twisted Root and Quincy’s Chicken Shack that are scheduled to be built directly across from The LOT. A third unnamed restaurant is planned on the site, too.

Sawyer Brown

5 p.m. Saturday

The LOT Downtown

108 S. Main St.